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Implementing bring your own device (BYOD) policies has certainly gained some traction these days and can be explored from many angles. For this post, I'll cite three high-level challenges that businesses of any size will face when implementing BYOD. I hope you take this insight as a starting point for further research, as BYOD can have far-reaching implications for UC.
Realistic expectations of the economics
At first glance, BYOD looks like a money-saver since employees pay for their devices. IT may get a free ride at the beginning, but there will be many ongoing costs that will far outweigh the initial savings. Key additional costs include mobile data plans, integrating UC applications, device maintenance and lost, damaged or stolen devices. The business takes on a lot of responsibility with BYOD, and the associated costs may not be apparent once employees start bringing their mobile devices to work.
Supporting UC in mobile environments
As employees shift to a mobile-centric work style, mobile UC support will be essential. This relates directly to your overall policies for supporting BYOD since employee preferences for mobile devices will vary widely. Working backward, you need to be sure your UC platform integrates with the mobile operating systems your BYOD plans will support. If mobility is becoming the productivity mode of choice for your employees, your UC plans will not succeed unless they are closely tied to BYOD.
This is not a technology issue, but will very much impact how the technology around UC is used. For BYOD to be effective there has to be trust on both sides. Employers have to trust that employees will stay focused on work when mobile and manage company data responsibly. Conversely, employees must trust that employers will respect their personal privacy. Striking this balance requires effort -- it will not come easily and both sides have to keep working to ensure trust remains in place. Once you have that, your chances of success when implementing BYOD with UC will improve greatly.
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